Eddie Stobart, known for its fleet of green and red lorries, plans a stock market flotation that would value the business at around £550m.

It hopes to raise around £130m from an initial public offering (IPO) next month on the London Stock Exchange's junior Aim market for young companies.

The firm said it intends to use the cash to pay down debt, strengthen its e-commerce activities and fund bolt-on acquisitions.

The lorry unit's parent Stobart Group owns Southend Airport and has interests in rail, energy and other infrastructure investments. The wider group said the flotation will allow it to focus on "delivering on the potential" its other sectors, though it will retain a 49% stake in the transport division.

Eddie Stobart chief executive Alex Laffey said: "An IPO is an exciting next step for the business that will give us a strong platform for further growth.

"We have transformed the business over the last three years and made significant investment in our customised technology and systems alongside developing our management and workforce to support growth in new business sectors."

The group, established in 1970, generated revenue of £549m and adjusted earnings of £41m last year.